Millions of years ago trees and plants fell into primeval swamps and creatures sank to the sea floor. Over the millennia they were subjected to huge pressures and temperatures that turned them into fuel. Coal and oil did not go through all that* to have the energy they produce squandered by the Highways Agency illuminating road signs in Scotland that say CAUTION FREEZING CONDITIONS when you are following a gritter, driving through ice and snow with mountains of the stuff by the roadside and snow-smothered hills in the distance. Freezing conditions? WOW! Really? I hadn’t noticed. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
*humblest apologies to Aleksandr Orlov
The motorway signs didn’t have much to say yesterday so they were wasting the nation’s energy resources again, telling everyone to ‘Drive Smart’ (whatever that means – presumably you should be wearing a suit and tie and have polished shoes). Last week’s effort was just as bad, with ‘Drive Smooth’ as the nanny-state message of the week (Hey man, get a load of the way I drive, I drive real smoothhhhh…!). Another read ‘Tell your passengers to belt up’, which I actually liked, because it could be an indication of a sense of humour in the room where they compose this stuff. Or maybe not. There were a couple of even more patronising messages that I won’t bore you with, like ‘don’t smoke in the car’ (‘don’t smoke at all’ might have been better, but I suspect such a global instruction goes beyond the ‘be-patronising-but-only-only-to-motorists’ remit.
As I approached the Forth Road Bridge the signs told me there were high winds, which I didn’t believe because the leaves on the trees didn’t appear to be moving. I crossed the bridge at a cautious 40mph like everyone else and halfway across I opened my front windows. It turned out to be a very good way to check for crosswinds because my hair stood out sideways. Had I been wearing a toupee (which I don’t need, thanks to some odd hairy genes inherited from my maternal granddad) it would be floating halfway to Holland by now.
The signs are excellent, and the traffic and warning messages are super. So why do we get all that Nanny-State stuff? It’s like being back at school, don’t do this, don’t do that…
Why not simply stick to the genuine warning messages and informative traffic information? Turn the bloody things off if there is nothing useful to say. Because if you don’t, we shall soon be seeing ‘don’t poke your tongue out at your granny,’ and ‘don’t pick you nose, it’s rude.’